Close Menu

CEEV reports ‘impressive and positive’ impact of wine sector in EU

The European Committee of Wine Companies (Comité Vins – CEEV) has presented the ‘impressive and clearly positive’ impact of the socio-economic and environmental contribution of the wine sector, following an exclusive study carried out by PwC for the body.

The report, presented in the European Parliament, aimed to quantify the contribution of the wine sector to the EU in rural areas, including each stage of the value chain, the impact on research and development, society and the environment.

It discovered the sector in the EU leads the international wine market, representing 62% of global wine production and trade, with exports worth €17.9 billion in 2022 and a positive trade balance of €15.9 billion, wine played a crucial role in reducing the EU trade deficit by 3.7%.

The study also reported that vineyards are 37% more profitable than other permanent crops, and the overall wine sector represents 1.4% of total EU employment. The jobs have “exceptional productivity”, it said and generate greater value added per employee compared to similar activities at each stage of the value chain, +90% in agriculture, +16% in manufacturing and +5% in commercialisation.

The total fiscal impact generated by the wine sector amounted to almost €52 billion in 2022, equivalent to 0.7% of the EU’s government expenditure. It was also an emerging tourist draw, and therefore a key economic catalyst for many rural regions, generating almost €15 billion in revenue.

In terms of the environment, it revealed more than 3.2 million hectares of vineyards contribute to the sustainability of the EU environment through biodiversity, limiting soil erosion, improving water management and providing fire protection.

Fundamental role

Mauricio González-Gordon, president of CEEV, said:  “With almost 3 million jobs and a contribution of €130 billion to the EU GDP in 2022, equivalent to 0.8% of the total, the wine sector plays a fundamental role in the socioeconomic sustainability of rural areas of the EU.

“Furthermore, its complex supply chain generates almost the same market value at all stages of production – from grape cultivation to winemaking and subsequent commercialization – which represents an example of a balanced value system, which must be preserved politically.”

Ignacio Sánchez Recarte, secretary general of the CEEV, said the overall balance of wine for EU society is “impressive and clearly positive” but it was a “delicate” success story, and needed further support.

He said: “(The wine sector) needs to be supported by further adapting the complex legal framework that applies to wine, while preserving wine culture against those attacks that attempt to demonise it.

“Harming EU wine is damaging EU culture, EU society and the EU economy.”

Wine and society

Recently there has been push-back in terms of the benefits of wine to society, including alcohol labelling suggested in Ireland and questions about its value to the ‘Mediterranean diet’. The CEEV filed a complaint to request the European Commission opens an infringement procedure against Ireland’s controversial plans for new alcohol labelling legislation last year.

The reaction from wine producers in Europe was scathing, with some arguing that adding such warnings conflates moderate drinking with liver disease and cancer, which is an “insult” to winemakers. The Italian wine industry has been especially incensed by Dublin’s plans.

In its complaint, the CEEV accused the Irish government of imposing “disproportionate” rules that were “never properly justified”. In particular, CEEV accuses the rules of forming a “barrier to trade contrary to Articles 34 and 36 of the Treaty of Functioning of the EU, thereby jeopardising the EU Single market”.

In July last year, Ireland decided to push ahead with the rules, with Recarte stating: “Ireland has decided not to change a single comma of the Draft notified to WTO despite the fact that no less than 13 Member States – Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain – issued critical comments on the Irish Bill during the EU process of consultation under the TBT procedure.

“One could wonder what is the point of the TRIS consultation procedure!”

Health benefits

The importance of wine to European society follows last month, db editor-in-chief Patrick Schmitt MW argued how wine in “small doses does good for the spirit” and that it “relieves stress and promotes conversation”.

The original concept of wine being good for health was highlighted in a famous 60 Minutes TV show by scientists Serge Renaud in the 1990s. He initiated much of the work looking at the healthy benefits of red wine consumption and its ability to help prevent various heart diseases – something he attributed to growing up with his grandparents in Bordeaux.

He once said of his work: “If I hadn’t lived with my grandparents and great-grandparents on a vineyard near Bordeaux, perhaps this idea wouldn’t have occurred to me.

“When you see people reach the age of 80 or 90 years, who have been drinking small amounts of wine every day, you don’t believe wine in low doses is harmful.”

A study by American scientists last year also explained why light-to-moderate alcohol consumption could lower the risk of heart disease, with the researchers, who published their findings in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, discovered that alcohol in moderate quantities was associated with long-term reductions in stress signalling in the brain.

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No